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In The Matthew Effect from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell claims that a person’s success is attributed to the timing of their birth date as it relates to the cut-off dates of sports and education. Gladwell believes that this one, random date is the start of a series of advantages that can ultimately lead to one’s success or another’s failure. One strategy Gladwell uses to support his claim is exemplification, as shown when psychologist Roger Barnsley discovered that “in any elite group of hockey players—the very best of the best—40 percent of the players will have been born between January and March, 30 percent between April and June, 20 percent between July and September,” and 10 percent born in the last months of the year (pg. 23). This trend was found to exist in every hockey league, from the first all-star teams of eleven-year-olds all the way to the National Hockey League. By providing these samples, Gladwell is able to argue that personal success is attributed to hidden advantages, such as one’s birth date, which in turn creates opportunity through accumulative advantages.

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